NEW YORK: The authorities in New York have banned employers from asking “the most sensitive question that any prospective employee may feel uncomfortable about.
The New York City Council voted on Wednesday to approve legislation that would prohibit employers from asking job applicants about what they make in their current, or made in their previous jobs.
The ban will take effect in six months, and is aimed at combating pay inequality, which impacts women and black minority ethnic (BME) members of the workforce in particular.
Applicants can however volunteer the information.
The New York Times cited city’s Public Advocate, Letitia James as saying: “The thinking behind the new law is that when employers ask about an applicant’s salary history, they can end up perpetuating any discrimination that women or people of color may have faced in the past. When employers ask about current or previous salary, they can hear a number that “anchors” them, and then offer to pay some percentage more on a figure that could already be too low. “Being underpaid once should not condemn one to a lifetime of inequity.”
Massachusetts and Philadelphia city, as well as Puerto Rico also have similar measures in place.
The ban is city-wide, but may impact across the country as many companies have offices all around the US and are likely to enact those changes.